by Tim Sawyer

August 7, 2020

Online zoom Training

Before you decide whether to go for face-to-face, online or blended for your staff training, you should make sure you've thought about the limitations and benefits of each method.

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In this post, we discuss each of the main options open to you, and highlight some of the things you're going to need to consider when deciding which is the best for you.

Face-to-Face Training:

Face-to-face training remains the gold standard of training courses, and with good reason. And the more practical the course, the greater the benefit of face-to-face training.

However, training everyone together in one room has become much more difficult since the arrival of COVID-19.

For a while, all first aid training stopped for all except a few key workers, to help minimise the spread of Coronavirus. Now we’re fully up & running again with our face-to-face training, but there remain a few limitations, some of which are pandemic related and some not.

Benefits:

  • Everyone gets the opportunity to practise the practical elements of the training
  • The trainer brings along training equipment so that candidates can have a go
  • The trainer is there throughout to answer questions
  • Face-to-face training tends to be more engaging, interesting and memorable than online training
  • The trainer can correct candidates practical techniques, so the candidates go away knowing that they truly know the material
  • Trainers can make reasonable adjustments for language issues, dyslexia etc so that no-one is disadvantaged in their learning
  • Candidates can ask questions throughout their learning
  • Candidates benefit from team-building and networking with their peers
  • Team-based learning can take place, simulating situations that may happen in the workplace

Limitations:

  • You need enough space to host your course. And you need more space now than you ever did, so that everyone can socially distance in line with current guidelines.
  • You’ll need to think of other anti-COVID measures too – making sure you have suitable PPE, access to hand sanitiser and hand washing facilities. And things like providing lunches for delegates have become more complicated than it was.
  • You need to be able to get all of your staff (who need training) on the course together at the same time and so scheduling can sometimes be an issue.
  • The trainer will need to be available on your preferred date too.

Online Learning:

Online learning covers two different types of computer-based learning experience.

Pre-written Online:

The first involves taking a pre-written course (it could be text-based, video-based, quiz-based or a combination of each), and usually ends with an assessment. It’s taken in your own time, at your own pace, and in a location of your choice.

Benefits:

  • Often lower cost than face-to-face
  • Take the course from any computer, at any time, any place
  • Enables complete social distancing – you can take the course entirely alone
  • Pause the course part-way through and come back to it
  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Assessments are built-in to the course
  • Course can be delivered in a combination of different ways – text, video, audio, quiz

Limitations:

  • Don’t allow for practical (for example CPR can be demonstrated, but not practised)
  • Require access to a computer and reliable internet connection
  • You don’t get the ‘group-training’ experience
  • You can’t ask the trainer live questions

New Online Courses:

If you feel online training may work for you, take a look at our new range of a range of pre-written online courses for Healthcare & Dental, workplace and childcare environments.

Live Online:

The second is a live course, often taken over Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or equivalent).

So everyone joins the course via their own computer at the same time by following an invitation link.

Usually, you're able to interact with the trainer and other candidates in real time.

Benefits:

  • Enables complete social distancing – you can take the course entirely alone
  • You get the live training experience
  • You can ask the trainer live questions
  • Can get limited group exercises (virtual breakout rooms etc)

Limitations:

  • Everyone needs to be scheduled and available at the same time
  • Doesn’t allow for practical (for example CPR can be demonstrated, but not practised)
  • Each person requires access to a computer and reliable internet connection – ideally in a private / quiet environment if formal assessments are required
  • You don’t get a true ‘group-training’ experience

Blended Learning:

Blended learning, as the name implies, is a blend between online and face to face learning.

Usually candidates learn most of the theory online (either live or pre-written) before doing a practical session, along with consolidation of theory and undergoing final assessment.

The benefits and limitations of blended learning depend very much on the type of course, how much is face to face, how much online, and the type of online delivery.

Benefits:

  • Reduces the amount of time learners spend in the training room together, so improves social distancing.
  • May reduce the number of learners in a room at any one time, again improving social distancing.
  • Can be particularly cost effective for larger groups who would otherwise need multiple courses.
  • Gives learners the opportunity to ask the trainer live questions
  • Allows for group exercises
  • Reduces the amount of time learners spend in the face-to-face training session - improving workplace flexibility and productivity

Limitations:

  • Each person requires access to a computer and reliable internet connection – ideally in a private / quiet environment if formal assessments are required.
  • Can be more expensive (particularly for smaller groups).

New Blended Courses:

If you'd like more details of blended training, take a look at our three new blended training courses for childcare, dental and healthcare settings.

Whichever type of training you’re interested in, it’s very much worth getting a quote, and understanding which of the benefits and limitations apply to you.

If you’d like more details on any of our courses or about face-to-face, online or blended learning for your workplace, feel free to send us a message or give us a call on 01234 308 740.

About the author 

Tim Sawyer

Tim is co-owner and Managing Director of Training of HTS Training Ltd - the specialist first aid training providers. He's worked as an engineer, consultant and manager in a variety of industries, including IT, Engineering, Retail and Health and Safety.

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